The program to convert to an electronic medical records system should not move forward without resolving several huge challenges. The most important and distressing of these concerns is the risk of privacy violations.
Each individual person has the right to maintain the complete privacy of his or her medical records. No electronic system, however, can guarantee the complete protection of individual privacy. No breach of privacy is acceptable. Individuals must be given the power to eliminate this risk. Therefore, we absolutely must allow individuals the ability to OPT OUT of the electronic medical records system.
Furthermore, in order to protect the privacy of consumers' personal medical records, the privacy protections built into the system must, at all costs, be as COMPREHENSIVE as possible.
I am also concerned that an electronic medical records system has the potential of being fashioned in a way that regulates how doctors practice medicine. This would be a misuse of the system beyond its proper purpose and would violate the freedom of medical professionals to provide the best care available according to their own knowledge, skills, experience, and ethical conscience. Medicine is a healing art more than a science. Health care professionals MUST BE LEFT FREE to practice medicine according to their particular resources and the decision making tools at their disposal, without an EMR system limiting their practice.
In summary, consumer privacy protections must be as comprehensive as possible and allow the right to opt out of the system, and the system must not regulate how doctors practice medicine.